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Bombing on the Mind

Other rads look on PLs as harmless lispers of the Maoist line. The New Anarchists know the time for strict party organization went out with the radio. Television, well manipulated, along with the telephone tree—10 people dialing friends from pay phones, who in turn dial one friend each, etc.—can gather a thousand people in the space of an hour. Ready for action. It's beautiful. The bullhorns of the New Anarchists are the tube or the public telephone.

The chances of Marc's being shot by PL are roughly equal to the odds on being fatally wounded by a Frisbee at Jones Beach. That isn't what bothers me. What bothers me is those fairly real scenarios. (Herman Kahn, inside the Hudson Institute with his fatal brilliance wrapped in middle-class values, relates heavily to the word "scenario." He gave us a Scenario for World War III. Somehow, visiting the man in his caricature suburban home, one can't help wondering if inside Herman Kahn's brain the theatrical genius cell doesn't bump the bourgeois cell every so often and whisper, "Whaddya say? Let's see how it plays?")

What is a fairly real scenario? Real, for instance, is the house that isn't on 11th Street anymore. The Tomb of the Unknown Radicals. As people came to visit this anti-shrine, the minute they turned onto the block their eyes would lock on the site of the explosion. No one spoke. In little strings of 12 at a time, they leaned over the wooden police horses. Silent, like the audience at a Balanchine ballet, they watched the FBI agents sift through piles of rubble with their bare hands. A shred of calico-print wallpaper. Charred pages from the Daily News. Whenever the agents with their cold stiffened hands touched a brick, they would stop and spread the dirt from around it with the delicacy of a gold-panner.

A man joins the line of onlookers.

"What're they lookin' for?" he asks the next man.

"Fingers."

Who knows what went on inside the onlookers' heads? The most obvious impression from that hole in the ground was: America's richest children are making bombs for mother. Real ones.

Perhaps "fairly real" is watching the last frames of Zabriskie Point, closing your eyes on the floating Naugahyde fishbowl ballet of remains from the exploding houses, and dubbing in your own most hated buildings. Or seeing The Battle of Algiers for the fourth time and dubbing in your own city. Leftist college students in Manhattan don't go to see a film called The Battle of Algiers. They go to study the scenario.

Marc wants to talk for a while about children, and what his commune is doing for them. It is not easy to talk about anything to radicals. For a journalist the first problem is to pass the ideology check:

Yes, I am a member of the bourgeois press.
No, I am not a lackey of the imperialist government.
Yes, I will contribute to your bail fund.
No, you cannot have final editing rights on this story
.

After going through the whole drill you find out Marc worked on Wall Street. But that was a few years ago. He had already passed through Republicanism, shifted colleges, quit graduate school 28 points and a thesis short of his Ph.D., and was concentrating on being less of a male chauvinist in his marriage. He came to New York and worked for Wall Street magazine. He wrote in American Business on numismatics. That means coins. (Today, Marc would probably spell it Koins because the rads are now using the German 'K' to color their vision of a fascist Amerika.) Marc is now going to editorial meetings in St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, where he is helping to develop New York's first radical, aboveground, daily newspaper, the Daily Planet. Meanwhile, he and his wife Patty make do working nights at freelance editing and proofreading, earning about $7,000 a year.

One doesn't have to talk to anarchists like Marc to learn what they want. Jerry Rubin, member of the Chicago Seven presently free on bail, gives the answer. All you have to do is to read it in his new book, Do It, Scenarios of the Revolution. Scenario 40: "We Cannot Be Co-opted Because We Want Everything."

Marc lives in the kind of building where the old standup kitchen sinks wear skirts, but the women do not. Even the mailboxes are liberated. Every one has at least two names—husband's name and wife's maiden name—which is the way it is done in Women's Lib. But Columbia University owns every inch of the building and the people inside never forget it. They can't argue with a landlord named Columbia University; they either take it or leave it.


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